Praised be the Lord, today there are also good and honourable women who walk the sacrificial path of Mary and Martha. This path is not an easy one, especially today, when everything has a price attached to it. Everything is for sale, as is sadly the human body. We know that it was never easy for women to bear and extend human dignity.
It is with utmost respect and awe that we accept that God bestowed upon woman the greatest honour – to be born of her and through her, to come down to earth and dwell among men and to receive from her human flesh and human nature.
And just as it has been since time immemorial, today woman still stands in the centre of male desires and lust on one hand and on the other, she is called to the sacrifice of self-renunciation. From one side she is tempted by the likes of Herodias and Jezebel and from the other she is called by the most holy Mother of God and countless women martyrs and venerable female saints. In deciding which side she will chose, a woman decides not only her own fate but also the fate of those who are part of her life and family. A woman is assailed from all sides by all sorts of invitations and temptations, she is offered all kinds of freedoms with the sole purpose of ensnaring and enslaving her. There are many who endeavor, and succeed, to lure the woman out of the house, to separate her from her children, her husband and her normal life.
There has never been more need for sacrifice from women than today brothers and sisters. By her sacrifice a woman gives meaning to the life of those around her. Where else would tired, overburdened and nervous husbands find a quiet harbor after they come home from a hard day’s work if not within the folds of a warm and comfortable family nest? A woman gives warmth to her home. Who will her children turn to, who will they rely on, whose shoulder will they cry on if not their mother’s? Should they walk the streets instead, or hang out in malls perhaps, or engage in fights at clubs and bars, should they seek a sense of belonging with cult leaders and their sects?
A woman has the right to ask where she can find the love needed to meet all those huge demands. She has the right to find it in her husband, her children and her family, if there is love to be found anywhere. And if there is none, then there is no other way out. She must endure in silence and harden her heart. This is a woman’s sacrifice, and it is a chivalrous one.
A good woman is a blessing to a home, in much the same way that a wicked woman brings shame and condemnation upon her home and family. King David bestows his blessing on the man who fears God and who walks on God’s path with the words, “You shall be happy and it will be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house.” (Psalm 128:2-3). King David has a modest and God-fearing wife in mind, for “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” (Proverbs 12:4) Therefore, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22) A good wife is a gift from God. “House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord.” (Proverbs 19:14) King Solomon repeats several times that it is better to “ dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”
There are countless companies that produce and market beauty products, as well as TV shows and magazines that concentrate on physical beauty. Many make a living off this business. It is up to the Christian woman to search for and adopt other values which have been neglected in this world of distorted values. A good woman is “worth far more than rubies,” (Proverbs 31:10) says the righteous Solomon. However, this is true only of a virtuous woman. “Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” And St. Paul the Apostle calls Christian women to adorn themselves with modesty and virtue and “not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” (1 Timothy 2:9-10) And St. Peter says, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, , the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves being submissive to their own husbands.” (1 Peter 3:3-5)
We know today that the word “submissive” has become politically incorrect and inappropriate in the ears of many. When St. Paul calls upon women to “submit to their husbands as to the Lord,” (Ephesians 5:22) he, at the same time, demands of husbands:” Love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) “So husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” (Ephesians 5:28). When we think about this, we see clearly that the Apostle calls both husband and wife to mutual love. For he who loves himself and the person next to him – his wife – he will not demand slavish submission from her nor anything else he would not wish upon himself.